Martin drops his bid for seat

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— Democrat Bill Martin quit the race for county commissioner Monday, saying he did not get enough support at last week's party caucus.

Martin and Diane Mitsch Bush had filed as Democrats for the District 3 seat. Paul Strong has filed as a Republican. Republican incumbent Dan Ellison is not seeking re-election.

Martin's candidacy was short-lived. He announced his bid March 15, less than two weeks ago.

During the March 21 Demo--cratic Party caucuses, participants took part in an unofficial, non-binding poll.

Mitsch Bush received 74 percent of the votes to Martin's 19 percent. Five percent were undeclared.

Martin said he did not have enough support among the 87 delegates selected for the county assembly in April to get on the August primary ballot. Candidates need support from at least 30 percent of the county delegates at the county assembly to earn an automatic spot on the ballot.

"I respect the wishes of the Democratic Party," Martin said. "I wish Diane well, and I congratulate her."

Martin, 57, is the owner of a kitchen cabinet and design business.

Those who get less than 30 percent but more than 10 percent support from the county assembly delegates can still get on the primary ballot through a petition process.

Martin could still petition if he bypasses the assembly, County Clerk and Recorder Kay Weinland said. But if he goes to the assembly and receives less than 10 percent of delegates' votes, he cannot petition.

Mitsch Bush, vice chairwoman of the Routt County Planning Commission, said she wished Martin well.

"I wish him and (his wife) Marcia the best, and I know that they will continue to be active in our community and in the Routt County Democratic Party," she said.

Martin, a former Steamboat Springs City Council president and Steamboat Springs Planning Commission chairman, serves as chairman of the Steamboat Springs Water Commission.

Lynn Abbott, secretary of the Routt County Democratic Party, said she respected Martin's decision.

She said the race between Mitsch Bush and Martin would have created a non-contentious, positive exchange of ideas.

"I think it was good that he tried," she said.

-- To reach Dana Strongin, call 871-4229 or e-mail dstrongin@steamboatpilot.com

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